What is “the ONE thing” in San Diego, California?

San Diego, California is one of the coolest big cities in America.  “SD” as San Diego is often affectionately referred, is made up of a series of coastal communities that beckons snow birds (people escaping the cold) and zonies (people escaping the heat) throughout the year. From young and old, there is a plethora of outstanding activities to partake in throughout San Diego Country.

San Diego coast by MikesRoadTrip.com

I have a special affinity toward San Diego as I’ve lived and visited for many years.  During my most recent trip to SD, I went on a quest to find “the ONE thing,” that you HAVE to do when visiting this world class city.  Be sure to watch the video below to find out what my “ONE thing” is.  Post your favorite activities below.   Once this page amasses a number of comments, I’ll take the five most popular and create a poll for you all to vote on “the ONE thing” to do in San Diego.

Here are just a handful of things to do when visiting San Diego, CA…most of which I’ve done myself:

  • SeaWorldSeaWorld is probably one of the most popular attractions in San Diego.  There are many exciting shows, from Shamu, the famous Killer Whale, to dolphins and sea lions.

San Diego SeaWorld dolphin show by MikesRoadtrip.com

  • San Diego Zoo – You’ll find over 4,000 rare birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians; not to mention a hundred acres of gardens.  When you visit this world-famous zoo, you are in for a day of fun and discovery.
  • Safari Park A trip to the Wild Animal Safari Park is like a journey to one of the world’s most exotic places—and yet, it’s like no other adventure on earth. See animals roaming freely in settings resembling their native homelands.
  • Old Town San Diego – Old Town boasts some great restaurants and a variety of shops nestled in a Spanish setting at the foot of Presidio Park.
  • Seaport Village – Stroll along the boardwalk for beautiful views of San Diego Bay.  Enjoy the diverse mix of street entertainers and discover great local restaurants, enchanting boutiques and the legendary carousel.
  • Cabrillo National Monument – Breathtaking views of San Diego Harbor and Coronado Island. The century-old lighthouse, Point Loma history, National Cemetery and tide pools are just a few of the activities.
  • Balboa Park – Set in the heart of San Diego, this getaway features museums and cultural centers, among which include; The Old Globe and Fleet Space Theater, which is home to the annual Shakespeare festival.
  • Gaslamp District – Located in the heart of downtown, the historic Gaslamp District is home to world famous restaurants, night clubs and shopping.
  • La Jolla – Named the “The Jewel of the Pacific,” La Jolla draws visitors, divers, swimmers and surfers to its beautiful blue waters. Explore La Jolla Caves, Seal Beach, and then head to the opulent downtown with exclusive shops and unique restaurants.

La Jolla Cove in San Diego by MikesRoadTrip.com

  • Water Sports – Surfing and sailing are very popular in San Diego, so too is water or jet skiing in Mission Bay.
  • Extreme Sports – If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, try driving your own speed boat on a tour of San Diego Harbor with the folks at Speed Boat Adventures. Or, check out kitboarding or hang & paragliding.

Speedboat Adventures boat through San Diego marina

  • Coronado Island – Across the soaring bridge from downtown San Diego is the relaxed  beach town of Coronado. Visit the world-famous Hotel Del or stay in lavish luxury at the 1906 Lodge.  Coronado has one of the best beaches in San Diego, if not the world.
  • Birch Aquarium – Enter a world of sharks, seahorses, living coral reefs and more.  Discover a stunning variety of Pacific marine life in more than 60 habitats.
  • San Diego Beaches – While Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are probably the most popular in San Diego, I personally prefer the less crowded ones that manly locals know of.  Excluding the lesser known beaches (that I won’t share to keep them that way), I really enjoy Coronado, Del Mar and Carlsbad.
  • Tour San Diego – Jump aboard an ol’ time trolly and leave the driving to an experienced guide. Or try a hybrid amphibian tour via Seal Tours. Or, maybe take a tour via the amazing two-wheeled balancing Segway.
  • LegoLand – With more than fifty Lego block-themed family rides and attractions, youngsters ages two to twelve will have a blast!

Be sure to post your “ONE thing” below and I’ll add it to the list and include you in the upcoming poll tally. If you found this post and video to be helpful, please share it with your friends and family by clicking the “like” button.






Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.


  1. Hi Mike!

    I loved these tips on San Diego! Having lived there for fifteen years I have to agree with all your suggestions on places to visit. Although I would add that any visitor has to take a kayaking trip either in La Jolla Shores of Mission Bay – I miss doing that so much!

    1. Hey Elle! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. I love it when folks add additional suggestions for my readers…kayaking La Jolla Shores is a good one. As a matter of fact, one time I went with my sister and as we were getting close to shore we looked into the water and saw tons of sharks (they were really small). We were so mesmerized that that we were not paying attention and a rogue wave rolled us out of our kayaks into the shark infested waters. We swam to shore like nobody’s business. Once ashore we laughed out loud!

  2. Mike,

    I enjoyed your you tube video very much, it connected all the great things to do in San Diego. My wife and I are from Syracuse and will be travelling to SD for the first time this August to visit our son who just landed a job there in March of this year. Your highlights allow me to focus on how to spend our time while there, although I’m sure my son will be a great tour guide by then. The weather looks great.

    1. Hey Terry, thanks so much for stopping by, and for the kudos. You will love San Diego…it’s one of my favorite big cities. There is so much to see, do and experience…plus, the weather is pretty fantastic. Enjoy S.D. and please stop by again, let me know what you ended up doing. Cheers, Mike

  3. Folks, There IS NO Seal Beach in La Jolla! It is ‘Childrens Pool’ meant for the children of La Jolla to enjoy growing up in this area donated to the city of San Diego for this purpose. Now the Coastal Folks think the Seals have the run of the beach keeping ALL Children out of the water here. The CITY has Violated the Decree!! As a La Jollan I am OUTRAGED!!!!!!!! Don’t Visit here!!!

  4. Hi Mike, I would add Maritime Museum and the USS Midway to your list. Since we are a “NAVY” City, would seem appropriate. I have been here for 10 years and I am a member of a lot of the entries on your list! Micci

    1. Hi Miccilina…thanks for stopping by. Yes, you are correct, that’s a good one to add. Not sure how I missed it on the list, but I did show it in the video. Did you watch it? Thanks again for stopping by. Cheers, Mike

  5. Hi Mike, YES, Not only watched it, but bookmarked it, put it in my faves and then shared it out to friends!

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